What Pastel Hair Means For Women Of Color

Our latest obsession here at Refinery29 is probably pretty obvious to you by now: We can't get enough of pastel hair. So, when Diana and Everdeen, two R29ers, approached us and expressed interest in taking the pastel plunge, we jumped at the chance to put them in touch with celebrity colorist Lena Ott of the salon Suite Caroline. Ott is known for creating vibrant, rainbow-inspired hair colors, making her the perfect person for the job.
But, as we anxiously awaited the day when Diana and Everdeen would go blue and purple, respectively, an interesting angle emerged: the unique challenges this sort of beauty trend poses for each of them, as an Asian American woman and a black Latina. Because hair has to be very light for pastel color to show, their manes would need to be bleached. That's not without its own risks; bleached locks are dry and susceptible to breakage.
On another level, this sort of hair color can also be very loaded. For many, the shade of one's locks is tied to racial identity. So, what does it mean to change it to something so unnatural?
Ultimately, Diana and Everdeen ended up with more than just a new 'do. They pushed the boundaries of their own comfort levels and explored what their identities mean in the context of their appearances. Ahead, stunning photos of their new 'dos and thought-provoking essays that explore the relationship between race and hair color.

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